More than 300 travel leaders descended on Washington, DC, March 16-17 as part of an annual fly-in called Destination Capitol Hill. Sponsored by U.S. Travel Association, the two-day event highlights the travel industry’s role as one of the United States’ strongest economic contributors. Representatives from 40 states participated in more than 295 congressional meetings on March 17.
“These two days are about celebrating travel’s essential economic contribution, and the need for pro-growth policies that keep travelers safely and efficiently moving to and within our country,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of U.S. Travel Association.
Travel leaders from a variety of sectors, including convention and visitors bureaus and state tourism organizations, urged Congress to embrace policies that are pro-growth, pro-competition and pro-traveler. Besides showing a united front before Congress, the annual Destination Capitol Hill is a time for travel leaders to combine a legislative day with advocacy training, guest speakers and peer-to-peer networking. Many delegates have stayed abreast of key issues via webinars in order to prepare for face-to-face meetings with their representatives.
Here are a few key issues that were discussed:
-Restoring choices to the overconsolidated U.S. airline sector
-Modernizing air and surface transportation infrastructure to keep pace with demand
-Ensuring the U.S. remains a welcoming destination for overseas visitors while maintaining strong national security.
U.S. Travel presented its annual Distinguished Travel Partner awards, honoring travel leaders and decision-makers who advance policies that strengthen travel. The winners are:
Distinguished Travel Champions
Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.), Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Deputy Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan
Distinguished Travel Ally
Julie Heizer, Deputy Director of Industry Relations, U.S. Department of Commerce, National Travel and Tourism Office
Grassroots Travel Champion
Great Lakes Bay Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau, led by Annette Rummel, Ph.D.